I haven't posted in 2 weeks, not because I am happily heading off to work every single day and my time cannot be allocated to FF/DH, but because we were out of town, and my time was allocated to eating bar-b-q and going swimming.
We headed back to the ATX for Ian's official graduation. It seemed pretty anticlimactic going in, as we moved away in December, and Ian is well on his way to scientific Salk-ey awesomeness, but it actually was quite climactic, deeply moving, weighty, and choc-full-o'-emotion.
There are plenty of airport bookstore bestsellers written by plenty of educators and armchair psychologists who lament the decline of rituals and our dreary lack of rights of passage. Being well steeped in new-age ass-hattery (I am a dedicated yogini and long-time yoga teacher and meditation practitioner, after all), I tend to shy away from such conversations as they usually end up with groups of people sitting on the floor in a circle, passing a talking stick around, and sharing their issues that they really ought to just share with their therapist. After this graduation ceremony, I will still eschew the talking stick and amateur group therapy, yet I will quietly and discreetly join the camp of folks who are all for ritual and rights of passage.
There is something primal, and so deeply satisfying to having a group of people come together en masse, wear special outfits, and have a conceptual, theoretical change in status actually be marked by physical, observable actions. Ian worked so hard, at such lame hours, for so long, with such dedication, and focus, and obsession, and got a nice piece of paper in the mail that said he was done. It did not feel very complete.
Yet, when we flew back to Austin, and Ian put on the special outfit, filed in to a huge concert hall full of families and friends just oozing with pride, joy, affection, and relief, and he walked across the stage, was hooded by the dean of his school, and handed his (stage-prop) diploma, it felt truly transformative. He left the stage looking noticeabley different than when he started. His outfit was different. He had a diploma in his hand. The announcer said his name out loud, in front of God and everybody, and said he was done. It felt so very complete.
Walking across the stage was such a literal, physical symbol of moving from one stage of life to another. It spoke to something buried deep in my bones and way back in my brain. It was quite satisfying. So, pass me that talking stick. I've got something to say - Ian, I am so proud of you, and impressed by you, and am just thrilled that I know you and am married to you and that you are my best friend. Well done.